A holiday in China?

By | Category: Travel destinations

Two days ago I wrote the story below.

Today – all change.

Overnight came the news that the FCO had recommended that only essential travel to mainland China take place. On top of this British Airways have suspended flights from the UK to Beijing and Shanghai for at least a month. At the time of writing, Virgin Atlantic and the Chinese airlines have yet to make any announcement but do check their websites.

Was I wrong to remind travellers that other parts of China were open to visitors apart from Hubei province and specifically Wuhan? In the light of events, yes.

Should I remove the story? No, because it will have been picked up somewhere by the search engines and when you click on their links you will just get an “Error 404” message. Instead it remains as a reminder of how fast the world changes.

If you are going to China you are one of the very few.

Chinese new year festivities were substantially reduced

Despite the outbreak of coronavirus being centred in Wuhan in Hubei province and travellers are urged by the FCO (its latest update is as of today) not to travel there, other parts of China are open and not under any particular restriction as suggested by the FCO

Domestic holidaymakers who would have travelled over the Chinese New Year period stayed away and some parts of China are restricting travel so that the outbreak might be better contained

Major tourist destinations like Beijing, Shanghai and Xian are open for tourists. River cruises along the Yangtze are still plying their trade. All they need are more visitors.

Nonetheless, travellers are staying away, tour operators specialising in China have noticed a downturn and that is reflected both ways.

The UK is one of the most China connected countries in Europe, Air China, Capital, China Eastern, China Southern, Hainan and Tianjin all fly into the UK and BA, Virgin link the two countries together as well. Flights don’t just only link London (Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted) with China. Manchester has direct services and, in the past, so have Birmingham, Dublin and Edinburgh. Juneyao Airlines reconnects Dublin with China from March. China Southern has a direct service from Heathrow to Wuhan changing to Gatwick later this Spring

It all shows a considerable demand to fly into and out of China back to the UK.

Yet at the moment there are seats as some people have obviously decided that all of China is off limits not just Hubei province. No sales seem to have started but that will change as soon as the outbreak recedes and airlines work overtime to fill those seats which number over a thousand a day.

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